CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. — When Cassidy Graves graduates from Austin Peay State University in May with a bachelor’s degree in communication, she will quickly be trading in her monocle for mouse ears.
That’s because in June, Graves is set to relocate to Florida, where she will join Disney as a full-time, professional intern with the House of Mouse’s Talent Acquisition Communications team. As a communications team member, Graves will be tasked with showing prospective hires what life is like at Disney, spotlighting the company’s culture and environment through its various social media, blog and digital media channels.
“Disney is a major brand, so they were only looking for candidates who already had a lot of experience and exposure to social media platforms like Twitter, Instagram and Facebook,” Graves said
The opportunity came at the right time for Graves, who said she had been reaching out to potential employers for an opportunity to work with their social media teams. While Graves noted she would have considered any chance to begin her career, she understood that the chance to work with Disney represented a lot more than a line on her resume.
“I’ve been going to Disney World at least once a year since I was about three years old,” Graves said. “It’s our vacation destination as a family; last year, I went twice. We love it there, but never in a million years did I think I’d actually get the chance to work there…when they called to tell me they were offering me the job, yeah, I started crying on the phone. The woman even said ‘You know, you’re the second person I’ve made cry in an hour.’”
The job is a perfect fit for Graves, who has spent the past two years working with Austin Peay’s Office of Public Relations and Marketing as a social media assistant, creating photo and video content that has shaped the University’s social media identity. In fact, it was that wealth of experience, Graves said, that gave her an advantage over an extremely competitive field.
“I don’t think I’d have gotten this position without my time at Austin Peay,” Graves said. “They wanted someone who could shoot photos, record and edit videos and someone who had a real knowledge of social media and branding.
“By the time I graduate, I’ll have had two and a half years of experience doing all of those things as a student worker at Austin Peay. That kind of experience is not common, and that honestly is probably why I got this job with Disney.”
Being the voice of a brand that means so much to so many people was not on Graves’ mind when she originally enrolled at Austin Peay. An amateur filmmaker, Graves said she intended to study film, but the experience representing Austin Peay opened her eyes to social media’s real potential.
“I think what I really enjoy more than anything about social media is the human relation aspect,” Graves said. “People think social media is watering down human connections, but I think it’s bringing people closer together and it has even brought brands into the everyday lives of consumers. That’s why I like creating content; I have the chance to make things that people can see and then relate to their own lives.
“Even just 100 years ago, you could only quickly talk to the person in front of you, but now you can talk to 1,000 people all around the world at the same time; it’s almost like we all have a superpower.”
For more information on Austin Peay’s office of public relations and marketing, visit www.apsu.edu/pr.